Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11
Read the “0722 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:” (Proverbs 24:30-33)
This is the story of a man who has a field and is slothful, and also a man who has a vineyard and is void of understanding. The slothful man is too lazy to go out and work the field, while the man void of understanding is just ignorant of danger and without discernment. Either way the men described do not take there duties seriously enough to work and think hard. These men will go on with there lives blissfully lacking and never acknowledging the failure until it is too late. Once they are without and in poverty it will be too late, they will be eating of the “fruit of their labor.” They will never get that time back.
“So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:34)
I see this field and vineyard as the life God has given. Just as a man must work his field by breaking up the soil, planting seeds, pulling thorns, giving nutrition, and building a wall to protect it from animals that would want to devour it. You must have wisdom, work hard, have good timing, and fervently pray.
“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. … The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.” (Proverbs 22:3, 13)
A man void of understanding doesn’t make the right moves because he doesn’t have the eyes of wisdom, while the slothful man makes excuses and he really believes he has an impossible feat before him. The slothful man says it can’t be done so they feel better about their laziness. How are we doing managing the field God has given us? Are we taking our duties in life seriously, working hard at home with our families? Training our children and loving our spouses? Or does our life look like the these men’s fields? Read it again
“And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.” (Proverbs 24:31)
In conclusion God wants to use us for his glory and exalt himself through us. This can only be done if we keep our fields.
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)
Posted in Devotions by Justin Mears with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31
Read the “0402 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:6-13)
Samuel is in a situation where God’s vessel (King Saul) is done being used as king.
“And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.” (1 Samuel 15:26)
Now is the time for a new regime. God is looking for a new man, a better man. A man who will be used mightily to bring about revival, blessing, and peace to a nation. Samuel is looking at Eliab and saying surely this is him. He thinks to himself he is strong, tough, and big, this must be the man, however God says no. Samuel begins to go down the line one after the other, each one being rejected. None of these men are the chosen vessel of God. It isn’t until Samuel asks the question, “are here all thy children?”, that we find our answer. His father says, “well there remaineth yet one”. The absolute last resort. The bottom of the barrel. The only crumb left left after a feast. The very last drop of water in a dry and thirsty land. It was then that Samuel and Jesse’s very last resort was realized as God’s first choice. It may have been the worst option to man but it was the best option to God. They thought to themselves, “he is so small, so young, so… insignificant. How could this be the vessel God will use?” God says to Samuel, “the Lord seeth not as man seeth”.
The thought I have today is this: Right now we’re living in a time where all of our normal church abilities are being taken away. All of our “obvious choices” for church are being rejected for the time being. The ability to physically gather has been taken. The ability go door-knocking or physically visit people for the most part has been taken. The ability to physically pray together, go on bus routes, fellowship in person, or even go out with a friend to encourage each other is gone. You might ask, “what remains?,” “what’s left?” My answer is God’s best for this time. Whatever you can do is the “David” of this time. It’s not small or insignificant, it is extremely powerful. Just because it’s our last resort doesn’t mean it’s God’s. The tools he wants us to use today may seem small and insignificant, but to God they are the most powerful. God doesn’t ask what we can’t do, he asks what we can. He asks what’s left, because that’s how he feeds the five thousand, slays a giant, and defeats the Midianites with three hundred men. This is how God does his greatest miracles and wins His greatest battles.
So ask yourself, “what’s left?,” “what can I do?” Some of these tools we don’t see yet, they are out in the field. Just as Samuel didn’t sit until he found who was left, don’t sit till you find what is left. The Bible, prayer, family, the ability to make a phone call, Zoom a Sunday School class or prayer meeting, Facebook live any/every service, or talk to a neighbor about Christ. We have the ability to be the greatest Christians, parents, friends and spiritual leaders that we have ever had the chance to be. Make the best out of what remains recognizing it is God’s best for us right now. We do believe God is in control right? We don’t think that somehow God missed this right? Just because we may be at our wits end doesn’t me he is. Pastor preached about Esther and about how we’re here, “for such a time as this.” Do we believe that? Let us be challenged to do the best we can with what’s left. Maybe we feel like we’re at the bottom of the widow’s vessel of oil. Just keep pouring and watch what God does. Today ask yourself… “what remaineth?”
Posted in Devotions by Justin Mears with 5 comments.
Read the “0107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.” (Genesis 20:6)
Abraham told Abimelech king of Gerar that Sarah was his sister which, as we find out, is true but not quite the full truth. Abimelech has no reason not to believe him and as a result takes her for himself. Before he ever does anything with her the Lord appears harshly to him in a dream saying, “thou art but a dead man.” Eventually, they get it figured out and he gives her back to Abraham. Abraham then prays for Abimelech, specifically requesting that the women of Gerar would be able to bare children again because the Lord had closed up their wombs for Sarah’s sake.
There is a lot not right with this story and mainly it’s about how Abraham handled this situation completely wrong. He didn’t trust God. He was willing to watch another man take his wife to save his own life, and this wasn’t the first time he had done this. Another point to see in this is how awesome God is at taking our mess-ups and making them works of art. In the end Abraham was tremendously blessed by Abimelech. It is a great picture of God’s grace.
However, my thought is not derived from either of these things but rather on King Abimelech and how we can relate with him. Have you ever tried to do something like apply for a job, buy a house, or pursue a certain dream only to be met with blockade after blockade as if the very hand of God was fighting against you? You may be pursuing something good in the integrity of your heart, just like it says about Abimelech taking Sarah. You might not be trying to do anything wrong but you can’t see it from Heaven’s perspective. It felt like God was punishing Abimelech, but rather God protected him by withholding him from sinning against God. The same goes for us, we can’t see what He see’s. He could be protecting us from some unforeseen danger.
Trust God and follow his will.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Posted in Devotions by Justin Mears with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8
Read the “0314 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night. (Joshua 8:3)
Joshua has just experienced great failure. He has just had about 36 of his men killed in battle, the people are distressed and discouraged, and to top it all off he had to have Achan, his family, and all he owned stoned to death. This is a hard time in the life of a leader. I’m sure he thought over mistakes that were made, things that should have been done differently. Maybe a little bit of anger with Achan and even himself. Joshua was no doubt tired and deeply discouraged. His head was probably filling with doubts, confusion, and fear. This was a man at a very low point in his life.
Now we come to the moment when Joshua is given a second chance. God begins with the words “fear not”. He tells him to go back into Ai, because he has given him the victory. God can bring victory and he can give them the land and he wants to, but Joshua has a decision to make that no one else can make for him. He can either give up or get up. We see his decision in verse 3, “so Joshua arose!”
Now comes the application:
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. (Proverbs 24:16)
Whether or not we fall is not the question, but rather whether or not we get back up. You may wonder what the point of getting back up is. Easy, there is a whole promised land still out there full of victories that God wants to give you. Failure is all a part of learning how to succeed. God will bring future victories, but you must get back up.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13 – 14)
Posted in Devotions by Justin Mears with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8
Read the “0307 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart. (Deuteronomy 20:8)
As we continue to read about God’s instruction and reminders for His people. We come across these guidelines for battle. God actually says that there are reasons to send someone home from battle and not allow them to fight. One of these disqualifying reasons is fear.
Simple thought today is this, are you fearful and fainthearted? Even further than that, are you influencing others to be the same? When the spies went into the promise land there was a report of blessing and bounty, but there was also and report of doubt and fear. The fear spread throughout the people like disease and stole their hearts, bringing them to their knees in defeat. Only they had never fought the physical battle. The devil can keep you from ever fighting in the battle, if he can keep you defeated in your fear.
We see another passage of scripture later on in Judges where the Israelites follow this rule mentioned here in Deuteronomy. Gideon is commanded to send those who were fearful of the battle, home. As a result they receive the victory. We learn here that we must cast out all fear and replace it with faith in a God. He has never let us down, nor given us any reason to doubt. Remember, “For God hath not given us the spirit of; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Tim. 1:7.
In conclusion, either remove fear or God will remove you from the battle. In the end, if you have fear you do more damage than good. Don’t let fear keep you and others from experiencing victory.
Posted in Devotions by Justin Mears with 1 comment.